3.15.2005

Thoughts on Finishing My Novel, Part III

6. Shoulda bought stock in Tylenol PM.

5. There are countless different ways to write the same story, but the only way that matters is the one that's interesting to you.

4. Wi-Fi is the worst black-hole time-suck ever invented.

3. If you think you're going to the gym, you are sorely mistaken.

2. Don't compare your novel to a short story, any short story. Short stories are the well-dressed preppy brainiacs of literature. Your novel is a massive, hairy, stank-breathed bitch, and no matter how many times you make her over, she's always going to be on the rough side.

1. The breakthrough you've been waiting a year and a half for will come the day of your deadline.

8 comments:

Lila said...

I am convinced that WiFi will strike the final death blow to the ailing husk of contemporary literature. They're about to install it at the Fine Arts Work Center, which I think is a very grave mistake.

I love your "massive, hairy, stank-breathed bitch" metaphor. That's exactly right, I think. Of course, I've never finished one. Kudos to you for allowing yourself to look past your bitch's superficial flaws and see the clever, foxy broad within. To me, shallow as I am, that seems like the most difficult part of writing.

Grendel said...

Yes, Wi-Fi, widespread Internet access, blogs -- these things are like handing a free vodka-and-heroin cocktail to a 12-stepper.

Hey, does this mean you had a breakthrough?

TLB said...

Alas for the Fine Arts Work Center. The biggest problem with Wi-Fi is that it's like crack: get stuck, you're bored and tired of working on the same shit day in and day out...hmmm...let's see what people are saying on Earth Goat today. Oh my, where has my week gone?

Yes, dear Grendel, had a breakthrough yesterday in which I realized I have been laboring (laboring laboring) under a really stupid first-year-MFA student assumption about structure all this friggin' time. If I'd figured this out this time TWO YEARS ago, I might have actually met the deadline on my contract. Gah!

I hope people don't mind me posting my random thoughts about this process on the blog. I find it therapeautic and head-clearing, but maybe everyone else knows this shit already and isn't interested in me clearing my head. If so, my apologies.

cek said...

What was the assumption? Tell, tell! What if we are all laboring under the same assumption and we needn't be!

SER said...

I am lucky in that my computer does NOT have embedded WiFi capabilities, which allows me to leave my wireless card at home when I go out to write.

Of course, all my good intentions go to hell (or pave the road thereto) when I encounter TLB at the East Side JH and am forced - forced, I tell you! - to engage in gossip for lengthy stretches of time.

Lila said...

Gossip: the poor man's WiFi.

I love it!

TLB said...

Believe me cek, it's too embarrassing to post. I'm sure no one else but me would labor under such a dumbass idea. Suffice to say it's one more example of my daily mantra: If only I were smarter, this wouldn't be so hard.

PJKM said...

TLB - have you been trying to squeeze your novel into "only eight pages", perhaps?

I don't understand why, after a certain point, a novel can't write itself. I've told it what has to happen, introduced all the characters and given it plenty of material to work with. Why must I do everything?

Sympathies from me to you, though I suspect you're finished by now.